Additive Manufacturing from Powders Institute
"Engineering at the Interfaces"

Additive manufacturing (AM) is revolutionizing manufacturing in conventional industries and will undoubtedly enable applications that have not yet been conceived.  AM is the collective name used to describe high energy, layer-by-layer processes. Subsets of AM include cold spray, stereolithographic (SLA) 3D printing, powder bed fusion (e.g. selective laser melting - SLM), fused deposition modeling (FDM), binder jetting, and direct energy deposition. Many of these processes rely on interacting with a metal powder including cold spray, metal printing (both SLM and binder jet printing), and SLA of ceramic filled resins.


SLM is a relatively mature additive manufacturing technology where a bed of metallic powder is melted by a laser or electron beam that moves along a predetermined path to build a metal part in a layer by layer process. Cold spray is less mature and involves depositing oxide-free metal powder in a supersonic gas stream to an existing part or substrate while avoiding the generation of residual stresses. Cold spray is most often used to repair specialized metal components that are cost-prohibitive to replace. SLA of ceramic filled resins remain relatively uncharted.


Additive approaches are finding their place in the general toolbox of industrial manufacturing. Still, there remain materials and applications that are dominated by casting or subtractive technologies which focus on bulk materials in which interfaces play a nominal role in the ultimate part. Instead, with the complexity and layer-by-layer approach of additive, interfaces abound! Continued success of powder-based additive manufacturing depends to a great extent on addressing the following grand standing challenge: Can the additional interfaces created with the additive process be transformed from a weakness into a strength?

Thematic Branches

Understanding and exploiting interfaces in AM can be broken down into three thematic branches including:

  1. Materials Engineering of the Interfaces including understanding powder qualities of morphologies and interfaces, process-material interactions, limitations of new material families

  2. Process Control at the Interface of Hardware and Materialsincluding equipment and processing redesign for superior process-structure-property relationships.

  3. Advanced Manufacturing at the Interface of Hardware and Software - including process and control optimization, manufacturing efficiency, machine learning, and IoT

These three branches are directly addressed by the NU Powder-based Additive Manufacturing Institute consisting of 11 faculty members and staff with backgrounds in manufacturing, industrial engineering, material science, mechanics and machine design. Our goal is to improve the efficiency of powder-based additive manufacturing by addressing the interrelated manufacturing, materials, control and economic challenges through scientifically based studies in a collaborative environment.

Technical Merit

Additive manufacturing is an enabling technology with great potential. Nevertheless, we face hard questions related to this technology from a materials, hardware, and manufacturing perspective. Central to this effort is answering whether or not additive manufacturing can be transformed into an efficient platform for manufacturing new materials and new structures with the performance and cost metrics required to displace conventional manufacturing. For performance metrics, we care about mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetic properties. How can the residual stresses, porosity, and interparticle adhesion be tuned to improve both the strength and ductility of the parts? For cost metrics, we care about the life cycle of additively manufactured parts including energy consumption and waste powder concerns. Are the current AM tools built to address the improvements necessary in material and economic aspects of the technology? The NU Powder-based Additive Manufacturing Institute is formed to answer these key questions through materials, process control, and advanced manufacturing teams. The deliberate overlap in these identified areas affords the collaboration between the investigators required to overcome key cross-disciplinary technical challenges that remain in the field.

The materials team will address the core questions related to process-property relationships in additive manufacturing by investigating the physics, metallurgy and mechanics of the technology; staring from the individual powder particles ending with the mechanical usability of the end product.

The process control team will probe new tools and hardware designs that deliver next generation control over material microstructures and use raw materials optimally.

The manufacturing team will implement process metrology, in-situ sensor monitoring and data analytics to investigate parameter optimization and inform economic decision making.

Member Scientists
Sinan Muftu

Sinan earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester and held a joint postdoc at MIT and Penn State. In addition, he was a research scientist at the Haystack Observatory of MIT and a visiting Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of MIT. Sinan served on and chaired the executive committee of the Information Storage and Processing Systems (ISPS) division of the ASME. He was elected a Fellow of the ASME in 2007. Sinan’s research spans a range of applications in applied mechanics, tribology and additive manufacturing. He is a renowned expert in the mechanics of axially translating materials, bone remodeling, and high velocity impact of particles during cold spray.

Sagar Kamarthi

Sagar earned his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He is a resident expert in neural networks and knowledge based systems in design and manufacturing as well as in distributed and cooperative AI applied to systems integration. Sagar was awarded the Dell K. Allen Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award . He also has research interest in monitoring, diagnosis and control of machining processes, intelligent sensors/sensor integration, design and manufacturing in mass customization, and product software development for group technology.

Yang Liu

Yang earned her Ph. D. in Computational Mechanics from Columbia University and was a Postdoc in the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at M.I.T. Her research interests lie multiscale/multiphysics computational mechanics, numerical modeling and simulation of complex materials such as granular materials, geomaterials, composites, biomaterials, etc. Her research aims to advance the fundamental understanding and predictive capabilities of macroscopic mechanical behaviors of materials relative to their microscopic attributes.

Jackie Issacs

Jackie earned her Ph. D. from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at M. I. T. She is an ELATE fellow and has served as a committee member for the National Research Council. Jackie’s current research interests include economic-environmental assessment of alternative manufacturing routes towards sustainable design and manufacturing, societal implications of manufacturing, with interdisciplinary collaborations in political science, philosophy, industrial hygiene and industrial engineering.

Randall Erb

Randy earned his Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University and was a Postdoc in the Materials Department of ETH-Zurich in Switzerland. His main research focus is to understand and control the microstructure of complex materials systems. He is an expert in colloidal assembly, magnetic manipulation, and composite technologies. Randy all has a track record of designing and producing a wide array of additive technologies from the highest resolution carbon fiber printers on the market to mineralization printers that produce pure enamel. His work has led to two funded spinouts.

Andrew Gouldstone

Andrew earned his Ph. D. from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at M.I.T and held a NIH Postdoc position at the Harvard School of Public Health. Before joining Northeastern, he had a joint appointment at Stony Brook in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering as well as in Thermal Spray Research. He received a NSF CAREER award in 2005. Andrew bio Andrew’s current interests include mechanics of heterogeneous systems, fundamental mechanics of thermal sprayed coatings, respiratory mechanics and indentation across size scales and disciplines.

Greg Kowalski

Greg earned his Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He served as a visiting specialist in thermal systems for the Solar Energy Research Institute and repeatedly for the US Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center. At Northeastern, Greg is the Director of the Energy Systems MS program. His research interests include developing numerical approaches to understand thermal effects including microscale heat transfer phenomena on laser beam propagation through heated materials, laser welding processes, calorimetry and other energy-related processes.

Safa Jamali

Safa earned his Ph. D. in Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University and was a Postdoc in Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at M.I.T. His research seeks to understand the relationship between the microstructural evolutions in dense materials system under stress/deformation. Safa is studying the flow of dense granular media and suspensions that show rich and complex mechanical responses across different packings, flow conditions, geometries, functionalities, etc. He has been developing computational platforms to enable the study of large number of particles, with different characteristics (sizes, chemical identities, shapes, etc.).

Craig Maloney

Craig earned his Ph. D. in the Department of Physics at U.C. Santa Barbara with Jim Langer on metallic glasses. Before joining Northeastern, he was faculty in the Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He received a NSF CAREER award in 2011. His research interests include modeling, simulation, and theory of nanoscale mechanics, powders, complex fluids, soft matter, glasses and amorphous materials.

Marilyn Minus

Marilyn earned her Ph.D. in Polymer, Textile, and Fiber Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research is focused on fundamental studies regarding interfacial construction between organic polymers and inorganic nano-materials. Marilyn is an expert on interfacial construction of composites and hybrid materials. Her research lab focuses on the application areas of light weight high-performance fibers, hybrid graded films and non-woven materials, including multifunctional properties such as thermal and electrical conductivity.

Moneesh Upmanyu

Moneesh earned his Ph. D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on computational techniques that span multiple scales, atomic to continuum, to quantify the structure property relations in established and emerging material systems, both in technology and nature. He has been named an Outstanding Young Scientist by the Recrystallization and Grain Growth Congress highlighting his interest in kinetics and thermodynamics of metal systems. He is an expert in multi-scale molecular dynamic modeling using methods that can simulate hundreds of thousands of particles over relevant time scales.

Member Scientists
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